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‘A project of this scale has never been attempted within PNG. The infrastructure one takes for granted in a developed Oil & Gas environment was not present’

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project in putting together a unique trailer loading and off-loading concept to reduce the overall ground handling times for the aircraft, ensuring a quick turn-around time of the An-124. Volga-Dnepr’s technical capability and loading concepts were a key factor in it winning the ‘airbridge’ contract and deugro was able to compliment this with our specialised hydraulic trailers specifically imported into PNG to execute the heavy haul scope of works for the project.

“deugro’s Technical Engineering Department worked closely with Volga- Dnepr’s technical team to formulate a modular hydraulic trailer-design providing sufficient incline and deck strength to successfully create a direct link between the An-124 ramp and trailer, thereby eliminating the need for additional ramps and cranes which ultimately add to the operational cost, safety risk and turn- around time per flight.”

Additional work was conducted by the airline to minimise the empty weight of the An-124-100 aircraft, tooling and packaging equipment to maximise the opportunities offered by the freighter’s cargo capacity and Volga-Dnepr also developed solutions to ensure the appropriate maintenance of aircraft at Port Moresby airport during the project.

After five years of planning, Volga-Dnepr’s first An-124 flight touched down on the new runway at Komo Airfield on May

3rd 2013. A sense of great pride and achievement was felt by everyone involved in the project – but this was just the start of an intensive flying programme.

Over the next 103 days, 88 Volga-Dnepr An-124 cargo flights safely transported 6,000 tons of equipment and materials that would help to turn an ambitious project plan into a reality. For Volga-Dnepr, it was mission accomplished.

Dennis Gliznoutsa, Vice President, Development at Volga-Dnepr Airlines, said: “This project was complex and an interesting logistics challenge and we are proud to have worked in partnership

with our colleagues at ExxonMobil and deugro. Papua New Guinea is a country that has challenging climatic conditions, including highlands with frequent fog. We are proud to have successfully and safely completed this project by overcoming all of these difficulties and by once again demonstrating our expertise in the safe delivery of unique and outsize cargo. For us it was not only a commercial project but the opportunity to test ourselves again. Participation in this project has also helped us to strengthen our cooperation with regular customers and to acquire potential partners.”

The ‘airbridge’ supplied the main logistics solution for the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant in that it allowed the project to deliver most of the major equipment required to complete the project by avoiding the 800km road between Lae and the plant. The equipment transported on the An-124-100s included the Main Compressors, Gas Turbine Generators, Pressure Vessels, Heat Exchangers and all of the Equipment Rooms for the process facility.

In 2014, ExxonMobil will deliver its first gas supplies to consumers in Asia – proving once again that by combining the best human spirit, endeavour and engineering, there is no logistics challenge that cannot be overcome.

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